Neighbours - The Iconic Episodes Vol. 1 (DVD)
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Review of "Neighbours - The Iconic Episodes Vol. 1 (DVD)"
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I am a big fan of the Australian soap Neighbours, I have watched it ever since I was a kid and still watch it now. I bought this Neighbours: The Iconic Episodes Volume 1 DVD set a few years ago now, but a recent storyline in Neighbours had me digging it back out again.
NeighboursNeighbours is an Australian soap set in the small cul de sac, Ramsay Street. It follows the lives of the residents who live in the fictitious Erinsbourogh borough in Melbourne, through all their ups and downs, marriages and deaths. As far as soaps go, Neighbours would be considered a little twee and rather light hearted, it is certainly not as dark and gritty as British soaps. This is a long running show, having been on screen for more than 30 years now and racking up an impressive 7,685 episodes.
There have been many characters who have come and go over the years, but some have also stuck around. The longest serving character would have to be Paul Robinson (Stephan Denis) who has been in the show right from the start and after taking breaks returned to the show to reprise his role as the Machiavellian self serving businessman. We also have wife and husband duo Susan and Karl Kennedy, along with fan favourite Jarrod Rebecchi a.k.a Toadie (Ryan Moloney).The show has been a springboard for some actors most notably: Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce, Holly Valance, Natalie Imbruglia and most recently Margot Robbie.
What does it look like?
The DVD comes presented in a standard case, there's nothing special looking about it, which is a shame, I think some sort of box set would have been appropriate. The cover shows the Iconic Ramsay street sign against a photo of some of the houses along with three photos - Steph's Scullys wedding, Henry Bishop, Joe and Kerry Mangle.On the reverse we have another three photos, this time featuring an upturned car on fire, an aerial view of Ramsay Street and Toadie & Dee Bliss tying the knot. There is a blurb about the show and some examples of episodes included.
Unlike Volume 2, there are no episodes guides included in the set, which is a bit of a shame really. I remember when I first bought this, I had no idea which episodes I would be getting in this little mix. The lack of episode guides also makes locating episodes difficult and I have to literally go from disc to disc to locate the episode I want.There are a total of three discs in the set, with each disc showing the same Ramsay street photo as on the front of the box.
Unlike Volume 2, the discs are no sorted in any theme, they are just a mish mash of different episodes which were deemed to be Iconic. In theory then, these should be the most popular, important and most exciting episodes. They are ordered chronologically, so the first discs feature the very early episodes from when the show first aired, whilst the 3rd disc will show episodes much later on. It is worth noting that the DVDs were produced in 2002, and there have been many exciting iconic episodes since then. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that a Volume 3 will be made.There are a total of 23 episodes here and along with the 1000th celebration special, this makes up more than 500 minutes worth of content. I'm not going to give a detailed synopsis of every episode here but rather an over view of each disc along with my favourite bits too..
Disc oneThe first episode of Neighbours was screened on the Australian TV channel Seven on the 18th March 1985, however it did not prove to be popular and was eventually cancelled and removed from its slot. It would later be picked up by Channel Ten, which remains its network home to this day. Fittingly, the DVD begins with these two 'first' episodes (Ep. 1 & 171) It certainly is interesting to see the very first episode and I found it engaging right from the beginning, I was only 3 when this episode was first aired and therefore didn't remember it the first time around. The first airing from Channel Ten was a really entertaining watch, it starts in with the Robinson's redecorating their home and watching a new family move in over the road, there is much excitement in the street as to who the new Neighbours will be. This is also the first episode we see iconic character Madge Bishop arriving. We then jump straight to episode 415 and Harold Bishops arrival, its funny because I always thought these two were a couple right from the start! I also discovered that Scott Robinson was played by a different actor in the first episodes, it wasn't until the show moved networks that Jason Donovan got the role.
I particularly liked episode 856 were Henry gets locked out of his girlfriends house naked and has to make it home without any of the other neighbours seeing him. This is a really funny episodes and shows how well Neighbours can have a comedy storyline running alongside a more serious one. These are the characters and episodes I remember when I was a kid and when Neighbours was at its height of popularity. Its strange that all the actors seem so young looking watching it now, at the time they seemed so much older!On the disc we also have the 1000th milestone special, which is basically a little documentary about the show, with behind the scenes clips. Pretty interesting, but a little cheesy too boot. This is as close as we get to any special features on the DVD.
Overall I found the first disc to be a fun watch and it certain brought back a bit of nostalgia. However, I've only watched these episodes a handful of times over the years as they feel a little too dated.Disc 2
Disc 2 moves us into a different era of Neighbours TV, we leave the 80's behind and move into the early 90's. We begin with animal activist and hippie Kerry Mangle being shot during a protest, here we are treated to 2 episodes involving this storyline. Here Kerry and Joe Mangels child is just a baby, but the character of Sky will be reintroduced years later as a wayward strong willed character, she can be seen in episodes on disc 3.We also have 2 joining episodes involving the disappearance of Harold Bishop and these episodes do indeed show us some of the most iconic Neighbours scenes. Who can forget a frantic Madge finding Harold's glasses by the rock pool. Four years later, Harold will turn back up with no recognition of his former life in another classic Neighbours episode - but you'll have to purchase Volume 2 for that little gem.
Skip forward a thousand or so episodes and we have the arrival of the Kennedy family with fan favourites Susan & Karl looking young and fresh faced, with kids Mal, Libby and Billy. The couple remain in the soap to this day - although the kids have all grown up and left the show. Unsurprisingly this episode is followed by Karl's infamous affair with Sarah.Disc 3
The episodes on this disc were the ones I was after when I pulled this DVD out from storage because they contained Dee and Toadies wedding episodes and the subsequent car accident which saw them drive off the side of a cliff. Toadie survives but Dee's body is never found. Flash forward to current day Neighbours and we have a twist on the classic character returning for the dead, when a woman turns up claiming to be Toadies long lost wife Dee - turns out she was a fraud who ends up making off with a huge wad of Toadies savings and wrecks his marriage to Sonya in the process. Actress Madeline West was brought in to reprise her role. It was great being able to refresh my memory about the previous storyline and it helped me put a few of the pieces together. Toadie and Dee driving off the side of the cliff is also TV gold, Dee is clearly replaced by a man wearing a long blonde wig. There are a total of 3 episodes here, which shows how exciting these episodes are, a big cluster of joining episodes helps me get right into the storyline too.
Final ThoughtsI really loved revisiting these episodes and I think there is a good selection from across the years. I was too young to see how the series began back in the 80's, so it was interesting for me to watch these. It was also fun to revisit some of the classic characters and see some fresh faced actors such as Kylie Minogue and Guy Pierce before they hit the big time. Some of the hair was also pretty amazing, there were plenty of mullets and perms going on back then and don't even get me started on the fashion. My favourite episodes were probably the later ones on Disc three though and it was great being able to revisit them as they tied in with recent story lines, so I was able to refresh my memory.
I do think that the majority of these episodes could be described as iconic as they featured some of the most memorable events, story lines, places and characters. It was interesting for me to remember all the different families that have lived in each of the houses, that street certainly has a high turn over! I don't think I would like to live in Ramsay Street, the death toll would be a little too long for my liking. Of course, some of the acting isn't great in places and the stories can be outlandish to say the least but I think that's what makes Neighbours so great, it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt really.This was a great trip down memory lane for me and allowed me to partake in some shameless nostalgia. I would certainly recommend it to other Neighbours fans and would recommend purchasing it alongside Volume 2.
Neighbours The Iconic Episodes has a RRP of £9.99 but can be found much cheaper than this second hand.Prices may vary. Sept 2017.
Product Information : Neighbours - The Iconic Episodes Vol. 1 (DVD)
Manufacturer's product description
DVD Region: DVD
Classification: Parental Guidance
Listed on Ciao since: 11/09/2017